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Alone in Switzerland

by Caroline Kraabel

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Monday morning 10 May 2021 Arrive at 04h12 Start recording at 04h17 A bit breezier than last time, not as windy as the time before. Interestingly, there are many more reed warblers in this stretch of reeds now than last week (when there was one bird); now perhaps one every three metres? So I can hear several at a time. London’s hum (but not too many individual car sounds, no planes). Leaving home (3.45?) there was a helicopter circling, but it's not audible now. Also, the reed warblers seem more warmed up than last time I recorded at this hour - a week ago? I mean their song is more extensive and complex. Is it the competition? The fact that sunrise is getting earlier? OK, hear a car on the bridge (4.00). Heard some coots right at first, now just one in the distance. Used the sides of my cycling jacket, held out, to try and shield mic from wind. 6.02, siren afar. Very occasionally the reed warblers make a beautiful hoarse fluty sound. They are flying about in the reedbed…. Trying to get the best spot? Another car 7.32, another siren or the same one. Coots. Decide to go over the low fence to get closer to reeds. Good. They are more audible, no sign of them being bothered. A new siren slightly closer. 9.10 beautiful duet or competition between the two closest warblers… 11.25 - !!!! 12.55 coots fighting? Splashing… near where the nests are (there are several coot nests spaced out along the water side of this strip of reeds). 14.00 wind and rustling. More cars in the distance. 16.25 rustling. Should I use a tripod? But the wind? This way I can hold the H5 inside my coat? Also, hands/arms got very tired by the end. 17h17 - Geese waking up, flying! Reed Warblers up and singing before other birds… and not many water-birds moving on the lake surface when I arrived; more now. 19.30. Amazing singing by the two closest reed warblers. Is that a plane? I’d been hoping they wouldn’t start till later, 'cos of Covid restrictions. It’s not even 5AM. 21.40 Coots rowing again. Great little sharp coughs they make. 23.08 Another siren. Engines. Louder than the others. Coots again, too. 23.48 More rustling. Me. 24.20 Ducks, flying and quacking. A pigeon behind us. 25.22 Warbler moves, I follow it, trying to walk across the earth and plants as quietly as possible. Coots uttering again. More engine sounds. Distant cry - crow??? Pigeon still there.


released November 3, 2020


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Caroline Kraabel London, UK

Caroline Kraabel is an improviser in music, art, politics and life.

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